Novolac resins are among the most dominant types of phenolic resins. Novlac resins are produced by the reaction of phenol and formaldehyde in the presence of an acidic catalyst. Phenols employed in the production process typically include resorcinol, cresol or bio-based products such as nutshell of cashew. Hexamine is commonly used as a source of formaldehyde in the production process.
Novolac resins possess several characteristics such as high thermal stability, high strength, light weight and can be molded easily. Their physical properties make novolac resin suitable for several applications such as insulation, laminates and wood adhesives among several others.
Major end user industries for novolac resin include construction, transportation, marine, furniture and other end user industries that require high strength and high thermal stability materials such as oil drilling. Wood adhesives applications dominate the global demand for novolac resins and the trend is expected to continue during the forecast period.
Physical characteristics such as light weight, high thermal stability coupled with low toxicity of novolac resins is a major factor driving demand for these novolac resins. Increasing demand for molded materials and laminates are expected to be among the foremost driving factors for novolac resin market growth.
Increasing demand for fuel efficient vehicles has been driving demand for novolac resins in the automotives and transportation application segments. Novolac resins are light weight and thus reduce the overall weight of the vehicle and improve fuel efficiency which has led to higher acceptance of these resins in the automotive segment.
With increasing number of regulations to promote energy efficient structures and machineries, demand for novolac resins for insulation applications is expected to drive the market growth during the forecast period. Novolac resins are suitable for off shore oil drilling activities which is among the major emerging application segment for novolac resins.
Increasing research and development activities and higher degree of customization to meet specific needs of these niche application segments is expected to offer huger growth opportunity for the novolac resin market in the near future.
Asia Pacific dominates the global demand for novolac resin both in terms of production and consumption and the trend is expected to continue during the forecast period. Increasing industrial investments in the developing economies of India and China is among the foremost driver for the demand of novolac resins in the region.
High GDP growth rate and increasing disposable income in these developing economies has led to growth in several end user industries such as wood adhesives, automotive and construction among other. High economic growth in these regions is expected to drive market growth in the near future.
In 2012, North America was the second largest consumer for novolac resins followed by Europe. Demand for novolac resin in the developed economies of North America and Europe is primarily driven by increasing number of regulations for promote energy efficient structures and fuel efficient vehicles. Increasing demand in Latin America and Middle East is expected to drive demand for novolac resin in the RoW region.
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Novolac resin market is characterized by high degree of competition and major players compete on the basis of innovation to meet application specific demand of end consumers. High growth opportunity and low capital investment in the Asia Pacific region has been driving investment in the region. Major players in the novolac resins market include Georgia Pacific Chemicals LLC, BASF SE, Mitsui Chemicals Inc. and Sumitomo Bakelite Co., Ltd.